SUNY Oswego Admissions Show Increasingly Competitive Campus

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If SUNY Oswego’s admissions trends could be described in one word, it would be “up,” college officials said.

The number of applicants, new undergraduates, students living on campus and newcomers’ academic credentials are all on the upswing, said Joe Grant, Oswego’s vice president for student affairs and enrollment management. Preliminary figures show 1,461 new freshmen and 711 transfers enrolled this fall.

One of the biggest spikes comes in undergraduate applications, with first-time full-time students applying to Oswego surging to 9,985 for fall 2008. This is nearly 650 more than last year and represents a 34.2 percent increase since 2003, Grant said.

On the flip side is one area with a number pointing down: acceptance rate. Only 48 percent of the applicants were accepted for this fall, down from 57 percent five years ago, which means the college is able to be increasingly selective when it comes to qualifications of those admitted, Grant noted.

The incoming class is a talented one, he said. Some 560 freshmen received some level of merit scholarship, including 175 Presidential Scholars with a mean high school average of 94 and 1240 SAT score. Oswego was able to award over 50 more merit scholarships than last year, part of more than $66 million in merit and need-based grants, work-study, loans and other financial aid the college provides.

The overall academic qualifications of incoming students rose to a high school average of 89.5 and 1,100 SAT score.

The new enrollment figure, combined with a greater percentage of returning students choosing to live on campus, leads to a higher campus population of around 4,100 students. To meet demand for residence hall rooms, the college opened Sheldon Hall as a residence for around 65 upperclassmen and transfers.

“I’ve talked with the students in Sheldon, and they are excited about it,” Grant said of the converted conference facilities that include large rooms with individual bathrooms.

“We expect this kind of arrangement until the townhouse project opens in fall 2010,” he added of the upcoming on-campus apartment option. “But we’re happy to have a large number. Housing a robust, diverse student population makes for a vibrant campus.”

The overall enrollment projects at around 8,200 — 7,100 of them full-time. The figure does not count around 600 high school students taking modern language credit classes part time.

Grant said he thinks that Oswego’s broad academic offerings and strong merit scholarship programs are two factors powering increased applications. But Oswego’s reputation as a campus on the move also has led to the rise in interest, he noted.

“People see the more than $250 million in facility investments we’ve made so far, and the increased curb appeal,” Grant said. “They know that we’re willing to invest, and we’re continuing with $110 million for the science facilities, $40 million for the residential village, and another $20 million for School of Education renovations. Academically, we’ve added a software engineering major and launched the School of Communication, Media and the Arts.”

The effort to recruit the class of 2013 is under way, with the Columbus Day Open House Oct. 13 and a new Saturday open house Oct. 25.